New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2011‒05‒30
eleven papers chosen by

  1. Do Politicians’ Preferences Matter for Voters’ Voting Decisions? By Dahlberg, Matz; Mörk, Eva; Sorribas Navarro, Pilar
  2. Political competition in hard times By Zudenkova, Galina
  3. The Comparative Political Economy of Economic Geography By Wiberg, Magnus
  4. Corruption scandals, press reporting, and accountability. Evidence from Spanish mayors By Elena Costas-Pérez; Albert Solé-Ollé; Pilar Sorribas-Navarro
  5. Axiomatic districting By Puppe, Clemens; Tasnádi, Attila
  6. Electing Displacement: Political Cleansing in Apartadó, Colombia By Abbey Steele
  7. Why has Britain fewer marginal seats than it used to? By Robert Hodgson; John Maloney
  8. The Dual Policy in the Dual Economy - The Political Economy of Urban Bias in Dictatorial Regimes By Shifa, Abdulaziz
  9. Non-bossy social classification By Dimitrov, Dinko; Puppe, Clemens
  10. How Experts Decide : Identifying Preferences versus Signals from Policy Decisions By Hansen, Stephen; McMahon, Michael
  11. Opportunities and pitfalls of local e-democracy By Nijkamp, P.; Cohen, G.

  1. By: Dahlberg, Matz (Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies); Mörk, Eva (Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies); Sorribas Navarro, Pilar (Universitat de Barcelona and Institut d’Economia de Barcelona)
    Abstract: Using unique survey data that allows us to observe both voters’ and politicians’ preferences for local public spending as well as voting decisions, this paper tests if voters typically support parties in which the politicians’ preferences are closest to their own. Doing so would be rational for the voters to do if politicians’ preferences matter for policy outcomes, as is the case in e.g. the citizen-candidate model. It is found that this is indeed the case. This finding is in line with theoretical models such as the citizen-candidate model arguing that politicians cannot credibly commit to election platforms that differ from their true policy preferences.
    Keywords: Elections; voting; preferences for public services
    JEL: H71 P16
    Date: 2011–05–16
  2. By: Zudenkova, Galina
    Abstract: This paper analyzes a spatial model of political competition between two policy-motivated parties in hard times of crisis. Hard times are modeled in terms of policy-making costs carried by a newly elected party. The results predict policy divergence in equilibrium. If the ideological preferences of parties are quite diverse and extreme, there is a unique equilibrium in which the parties announce symmetric platforms and each party wins with probability one half. If one party is extreme while the other is more moderate, there is a unique equilibrium in which the parties announce asymmetric platforms. If the preferred policies of the parties are not very distinct, there are two equilibria with asymmetric platforms. An important property of equilibrium with asymmetric platforms is that a winning party necessarily announces its most preferred policy as a platform.
    Keywords: Spatial model; Political competition; Two-party system; Policy-motivated parties; Hard times; Crisis.
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2011–05–01
  3. By: Wiberg, Magnus (Ministry of Finance)
    Abstract: This paper examines how different electoral rules affect the lo- cation decisions of firms through the effect on regional policy. The equilibrium location of industry in the economically smaller (larger) region is higher under majoritarian (proportional) elections. The stan- dard prediction in the economic geography literature, that the larger region becomes the core when trade barriers are reduced, no longer holds. The establishment of manufacturing production in the smaller region is increasing in the level of regional integration. As trade is in- creasingly liberalized, the economy features a reversed core-periphery equilibrium. This result holds under both electoral rules. However, firms locate to the smaller region at a relatively higher rate in the case of majoritarian voting, hence, the reversed equilibrium occurs for a relatively lower level of regional integration with majoritarian elections. Empirical evidence shows that the model is consistent with qualitative features of the data, and the results are robust to an instru- mental variable strategy that accounts for the potential endogeneity of the electoral rule.
    Keywords: Economic Geography; Regional Policy; Electoral Rules
    JEL: D72 F12 R12
    Date: 2011–05–08
  4. By: Elena Costas-Pérez (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB); Albert Solé-Ollé (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB); Pilar Sorribas-Navarro (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)
    Abstract: We analyse the effects of local corruption on electoral outcomes with Spanish data. Based upon press reports published between 1996 and 2009, we are able to construct a novel database on corruption scandals and news related to bribe-taking in exchange for amendments to land use plans. Our data show that local corruption scandals first emerged during the 1999-2003 term, but that they peaked just before the 2007 elections. We estimate an equation for the incumbent’s vote share at this electoral contest and find the average vote loss after a corruption scandal to be around 4%, and the effect to be greater for cases receiving wide newspaper coverage (up to 9%). The effects found for the 2003 elections are much lower. When we consider cases in which the incumbent has been charged with corruption and press coverage has been extensive the vote loss can rise to 12%. However, press reports have a negative impact on the vote even when no judicial charges have been brought.
    Keywords: voting, accountability, corruption
    JEL: P16 D72
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Puppe, Clemens; Tasnádi, Attila
    Abstract: In a framework with two parties, deterministic voter preferences and a type of geographical constraints, we propose a set of simple axioms and show that they jointly characterize the districting rule that maximizes the number of districts one party can win, given the distribution of individual votes (the 'optimal gerrymandering rule'). As a corollary, we obtain that no districting rule can satisfy our axioms and treat parties symmetrically. --
    Keywords: districting,gerrymandering
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Abbey Steele (Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University)
    Abstract: This article highlights a nefarious effect of elections during civil wars by demonstrating that they can facilitate the displacement of civilians. This occurs through two main mechanisms: they reveal information about civilians' loyalties directly to armed groups; and they threaten the status quo of local elites' power, motivating them to ally with outside armed groups in order to regain it. Armed groups strategically displace civilians identified as "disloyal" in order to gain control over a territory. I test implications of the argument with original, micro-level quantitative and qualitative data from northwest Colombia. Using voter censuses and disaggregated electoral returns in the 1990s, I show that residents in urban neighbourhoods that supported the insurgent-backed political party, the Patriotic Union (UP), were more likely to leave the city of Apartadó than neighbors in other districts. However, residents of the nearby rural communities that supported the UP were the least likely to leave. I trace the patterns of violence across the communities using local archival materials and interviews to assess how well the argument accounts for the variation observed, and to explore the unexpected outcome in the rural area. While I find that counterinsurgents attempted strategic displacement in both the city and the mountains, they only succeeded in the urban areas because residents of the rural hamlets were uniquely able to overcome the collective action problem that strategic displacement generates. The findings demonstrate that political identities are relevant for patterns of violence, and that political cleansing resembles ethnic cleansing.
    Date: 2011–01
  7. By: Robert Hodgson (Department of Economics, University of Exeter); John Maloney (Department of Economics, University of Exeter)
    Abstract: The decline in the number of marginal constituencies in Britain is often attributed to the increasing geographical polarisation of the electorate, with the North having become even more pro-Labour and the South even more pro-Conservative. We show that this has been more than neutralised by the weakening links between social class and voting behaviour, and explain the fall in the number of marginals by the party, not just personal, incumbency effects which tend to pile up in all but the most marginal seats.
    Date: 2011
  8. By: Shifa, Abdulaziz (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: One of the most common policy obstacles in the global effort against poverty is what is termed as “urban bias” where rural residents, who constitute majority of the poor in the world, face systematic bias against their economic interests by their own governments. This paper develops a simple political economy model of urban bias in dictatorial regimes. Equilibrium outcomes relating policy outcomes with economic structure, political power, and other behavioral and structural variables are analyzed. The model shows that anti-agricultural biases can emerge in primarily agrarian societies even if there is no bias in political power between urban and rural citizens. Evidence from recent World Bank country level panel data on biases against/for agriculture provides support for the model’s prediction.
    Keywords: Urban bias; rural poverty; dictatorship
    JEL: D72 O17 O20 P48 R00
    Date: 2011–05–15
  9. By: Dimitrov, Dinko; Puppe, Clemens
    Abstract: We consider the problem of how societies should be partitioned into classes if individuals express their views about who should be put with whom in the same class. A non-bossy social aggregator depends only on those cells of the individual partitions the society members classify themselves in. This fact allows us to concentrate on a corresponding 'opinion graph' for each profile of views. By means of natural sovereignty, liberalism, and equal treatment requirements, we characterize the non-bossy aggregators generating partitions in which the social classes are refinements of the weakly connected components of the opinion graph. --
    Keywords: social aggregation,group identity,liberalism, non-bossiness
    JEL: D71
    Date: 2011
  10. By: Hansen, Stephen (Universitat Pompeu Fabra); McMahon, Michael (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: A large theoretical literature assumes that experts differ in terms of preferences and the distribution of their private signals, but the empirical literature to date has not separately identified them. This paper proposes a novel way of doing so by relating the probability a member chooses a particular policy decision to the prior belief that it is correct. We then apply this methodology to study differences between internal and external members on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee. Using a variety of proxies for the prior, we provide evidence that they differ significantly on both dimensions. Key words: Bayesian decision making ; Committees ; Monetary policy JEL classification: D81 ; D82 ; E52
    Date: 2011
  11. By: Nijkamp, P.; Cohen, G.
    Date: 2011

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